In an apparent effort to depict the poor relations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama administration, a left-wing Israeli newspaper on Thursday published a cartoon showing Netanyahu piloting an aircraft toward an American skyscraper drawn to resemble one of the World Trade Center twin towers.
Here’s the cartoon that appeared in Haaretz:
“One would expect a cartoon such as this one to appear in an Iranian or Syrian newspaper, not an Israeli news outlet,” said Tamar Sternthal, director of the Israel office of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, a media watchdog group.
“Haaretz has crossed all lines of reasoned discourse by publishing a cartoon which apparently seeks to compare Prime Minister Netanyahu's policies — such as approving construction of homes in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem over the green line, a move criticized by the U.S. government — to the 9/11 massacre of thousands of Americans,” Sternthal told TheBlaze.
“Haaretz should be ashamed and ought to apologize to its readers. The cartoon is also likely highly offensive to the victims of 9/11 as it belittles their unspeakable tragedy,” she said.
Anne Herzberg, legal adviser to NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institute, told TheBlaze, “It appears that the cartoon is a play on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blaming ‘Zionists’ for 9/11, equating Bibi [Netanyahu] to Al Qaeda and the 9/11 hijackers, responsible for the murder of more than 3,000 innocent people.”
“It is not only immoral and highly offensive to both Israelis and Americans, it reflects extremely poor judgment on the part of Haaretz's editors and should never have been published,” Herzberg said.
“Haaretz is well-known for its extreme antagonism towards the Netanyahu government, but that does not excuse unprofessional editorial decisions,” she added.
The dire personal relations between the Israeli government and the Obama White House were magnified this week after the revelation that an unnamed senior administration official had called Netanyahu a "chickens**t" in a conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic.
Comments on Twitter about the cartoon ranged from condemnation of the poor taste, to questions about what the cartoon was trying to insinuate.
Wow. Are you seriously comparing Bibi to Al Qaeda and equating him w/ murderers of 3K people? That's off the charts deranged @haaretzcom
— NGO Monitor (@ngomonitor) October 30, 2014
Catastrophically bad taste. RT @haaretzcom: Haaretz Daily Cartoon - 30/10/14 http://t.co/WyZSJ15uyi pic.twitter.com/d6SP6hr8qH
— Raphael Satter (@razhael) October 30, 2014
@HammudaGheith @RoyalHypocrite @haaretzcom sorry I'm dense but is this implying Israel flew those planes into WTC??
— Nina Mae (@NinaMaechik) October 30, 2014
.@liamstack @haaretzcom What's the insinuation?
— Justin D. Martin (@Justin_D_Martin) October 30, 2014
Amira Hass, a reporter for the paper, was widely criticized last year after encouraging Palestinians to throw stones at Israelis, calling the activity the “birthright and duty of anyone subject to foreign rule.”
TheBlaze's Oliver Darcy contributed to this report.